Massage Therapy & Low-Back Pain
In a study published in a past edition of Scientific World Journal, researchers investigated whether chronic low-back pain therapy with massage therapy alone was as effective as combining it with non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs. The study was conducted on 59 individuals divided into two groups, all of whom suffered from low-back pain and were diagnosed with degenerative changes of the spine, other intervertebral disc diseases or spine pain.
In both patient groups, the pain measured was significantly reduced and the level of disability showed significant improvement compared to the baseline. Researchers concluded massage had a positive effect on patients with chronic low-back pain and propose that the use of massage indicates similar results as anti-inflammatory drugs in the treatment of chronic low-back pain.
Medical literature contains very few studies showing that massage reduces lumbosacral pain in the acute stage. It was suggested, on the other hand, that massage in the subacute stage and in the early chronic stage of lumbosacral pain reduces the intensity and the quality of pain as effectively as a placebo therapy. Comparing the therapeutic effect of massage with other forms of therapy in lumbosacral pain, the results were similar to the effect of exercises and manipulation. Research on patients with chronic lumbosacral pain suggested that massage was effective in reducing the intensity of pain and in improving patient’s functionality. However, massage was not as effective in pain reduction as transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. On the other hand, authors showed that massage was more effective than relaxation, acupuncture, and mere health education. Studies along with the research on patients with the visual analogue scale suggest that massage is effective in subacute stages and in chronic stages of unknown etiology (nonspecific pain). It is particularly effective when used along with exercises and when it is performed by an experienced therapist. The effectiveness of massage depends on the duration and the number of sessions, the surface area that undergoes massage, the strength of compression, and the patient’s stress level